Examining the Contenders for the 2019 Dubai World Cup

by Jim Beviglia
on March 29, 2019

Minute Read

In terms of relatively new horse races which have garnered a lot of attention in a hurry, nothing can quite match the Dubai World Cup. And this year’s edition is shaping up to be a true classic. That’s why we’re giving you this 2019 Dubai World Cup preview so you can be prepared to make your bets on this race.

This year could be one of the most exciting editions of this event. The Dubai World Cup first came into existence back in 1996, and the race at the end of the evening was immediately stamped as a classic when the amazing Cigar won it. Since then, the night of racing at Meydan Race Course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which includes a total of nine stakes races, has only grown in stature.

And it all culminates with the race known as the Dubai World Cup. What makes it so special? Well, first of all, it is a truly international race, with horses from all over the world competing for the title.

Then there is the purse. Coming in at an astounding $12 million, you can understand why horses from across the globe would want to make their way to the exotic setting for the race. Those are the kind of winnings that can set up owners, trainers, and jockeys for life.

When you look at this year’s field, it appears to be a wide-open group. North America is a deserving favorite, but there are 13 horses in the field and there aren’t too many that you can completely throw out of consideration. That means more betting opportunities for those wagering on the race.

With that in mind, let’s give you an in-depth 2019 Dubai World Cup race preview. We will go through the entire baker’s dozen of a field and give you a quick look at each horse’s qualifications. After that, we’ll give you our picks for who is going to come out on top in this exciting race.

2019 Dubai World Cup

  • Where: Meydan Race Course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • When: Saturday, March 30
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Distance: 1¼ miles
  • Contenders: 3-year-olds and up
  • Purse: $12 million
  • The Field (Jockey and odds in parentheses)

1-Gunnevara (Emisael Jaramillo, 12-1)

He has always been knocking heads against the very best, but coming up with wins has been problematic. Gunnevara has experience running these high-class races, but he hasn’t been able to come up with wins in them. His 2nd place finish in last year’s Breeders Cup Classic is a pretty good feather in his cap, however.

2-Capezzano (Mickael Barzalona, 4-1)

Nobody in this field knows this course as well as this 5-year-old. And he comes in absolutely peaking at the right time, having romped to a victory in a Grade 1 event at Meydan in his last race. It’s a speed-favoring track, and Capezzano, right now anyway, has some serious getaway speed.

3-North America (Richard Mullen, 3-1)

Another regular at Meydan who comes in at the absolute top of his game. His last two wins were of the Grade 2 variety, but the last one was a nine-length eye-opener. Not bad at all considering he sat out the last nine months of last year after finishing a disappointing 10th in this race.

4-Audible (Flavien Prat, 12-1)

It’s been a mixed bag of late for the 3rd-place finisher in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. He had a nice win at Churchill in a November comeback, but came up short in his next two at Gulfstream. This will be his first international effort, as he still tries to find that elusive Florida Derby form.

5-Seeking The Soul (Mike Smith, 6-1)

He knows his way around big-money races, having come up just short in the even richer Pegasus World Cup last time out. There was also his place in the Breeders Cup mile in 2018. Maybe he has something special in store for us in this, his 6-year-old season.

6-Pavel (Joel Rosario, 30-1)

Last summer, it looked like this guy was on his way to becoming one of the premiere aged horses, racking up a win and a place in consecutive Grade 1 efforts. But he has gone the wrong direction since then failing to hit the board in three in a row. Maybe he can wake up the echoes as a long shot.

7-Gronkowski (Oisin Murphy, 25-1)

His namesake just announced his retirement, so there could be some sentimental American betting action on his behalf for this race. But his recent past performances don’t suggest that he should even be in the ballpark in this one. That 2nd-place finish behind Justify in the Belmont seems a long time ago.

8-Axelrod (Roystom Ffrench, 25-1)

The stablemate of Gronkowski got a race at Meydan under his belt earlier this month. Alas, it wasn’t a very encouraging one, finishing 10th in a Grade 3 event. Even though he has experience in classy races, there isn’t a lot to see here.

9-New Trails (Connor Beasley, 30-1)

He has been a respectable finisher in his last two races behind North America and Capezzano in his last two. The late-kicking speed seems like it could net him an exotic finish. But he would need a wildly out-of-control pace to really be in the mix for the upset win.

10-Yoshida (Jose Ortiz, 8-1)

One of the more intriguing records of anybody in the field. For most of his career, he has been a turf stakes warrior, and a good one at that with multiple stakes wins. But it’s his two dirt starts, including a Grade 1 win and a 4th in the Breeders Cup Classic, that makes him such a dangerous force here.

11-K T Brave (Joao Moreira, 30-1)

He has been a fine performer in his native Japan, but he comes in as a bit of an unknown here. The best that he’s ever done in Group 1 company has been a third-place finish. As a result, it’s hard to see him making this kind of leap into a killer field such as this one.

12-Thunder Snow (Christophe Soumillon, 7-2)

The defending champion comes back for more. Don’t forget that he posted a record-setting time in his victory last year and that he also came into that race off a loss at Meydan. He’s always been a bit unpredictable, but his ceiling has always been extremely high.

13-Dolkong (Olivier Doleuze, 25-1)

For a horse to have started his career in South Korea to make it to this point is really something. And the story would be even more fantastical if he could build on his third behind Capezzano and Thunder Snow in his last start. He is certainly getting better.

The Pick

Thunder Snow is the story, and the two Dubai regulars on the inside will certainly be a factor. But Yoshida is not just a great value play but has everything it takes to win the thing. Long shot players should consider Audible and Dolkong for their exotics in the 2019 Dubai World Cup.

Jim Beviglia

Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in August of 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for Gamblingsites.org, and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog. For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a harness racing establishment near his home. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Marie and daughter Daniele, both of whom are used to hearing his long-winded monologues about either the struggles of his Fantasy baseball team or which Beatles song is definitively the best.

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